French PM Édouard Philippe at National Assembly
5 July 2017

Édouard Philippe's general policy statement: Key points at a glance

On 4 July 2017 the Prime Minister delivered his general policy statement before the National Assembly. The key points outlined in the Government's programme are aimed at giving back France its confidence, courage and conquering spirit. During the vote that followed, the Prime Minister won the MPs’ vote of confidence by 370 votes out of 577 voting members.
 
"In 2017, the French people told us that they wanted France to finally become itself again: confident, courageous and conquering."

Pursuant to Article 49, Paragraph 1, of the Constitution, Édouard Philippe has committed his Government to achieving these three priorities.

I/ Confidence

Confidence in public action


"This is about setting the framework for cleaning up our public life and restoring the French people's confidence, all the while laying down clear rules for elected officials."

With the bill to restore confidence, presented to the Council of Ministers on 14 June just gone, the Government intends to build on the headway made these past 30 years in terms of elected officials showing honesty, rectitude and courage.
>> Find out more about the policy to restore confidence <<
  

Judicial reform


"To have confidence in the justice system, you need to be able to call on it easily and know that it will reach a swift decision – especially when it comes to the most serious offences."

A strong justice system is one of the building blocks to restoring confidence. The Prime Minister has thus set out several measures with this in mind:
  • a constitutional reform: to strengthen the independence of magistrates, by separating the executive branch from the judicial branch and by limiting the former's scope for action in appointing Public Prosecution magistrates, 
  • legislation for a five-year term programming the Judiciary's means: scheduled to be presented to Parliament as early as 2018, this will set in motion far-reaching dematerialisation, simplification and reorganisation efforts,
  • construction of 15,000 extra prison places: in keeping with the commitment made by the President of the Republic, so as to avoid turning prisons into breeding grounds for violence. 

A national health strategy


"The French people set great store [by the health service], but find that it is poorly coordinated, that the division between emergencies and consultations, primary care in the community and hospital care could be better and that we are still not managing to root out the problems of exclusion of care and widening inequality."

The Prime Minister has announced plans to discuss the national health strategy this autumn, with prevention coming top of the agenda:
  • unanimously recommended by the health authorities, vaccinations for young children will become compulsory from 2018,
  • the price of a pack of cigarettes will gradually be raised to €10: every year, tobacco causes more than 80,000 deaths in France,
  • a plan to tackle "medical deserts", areas with no local healthcare services: drawn up by the Minister for Solidarity and Health, for this September, for equal access to care,
  • services with no co-payment for prescription glasses, dental care and hearing aids, accessible to all French people, to make the phenomenon of "going without care" a thing of the past. 

Old age, disability and vulnerable families


"Restoring confidence means knowing that all of us here will be judged on the way we behave towards the most vulnerable."

The Government does not wish solely to change the view that society has of its elders, of disabled people or of the most vulnerable families, but also to acknowledge the extent of the contribution they can make to society. Several measures have thus been announced by the Prime Minister:
  • including disabled people more in society is one of the priorities of the five-year term
    >> Find out more about the policy in favour of disabled people <<
  • increasing the adult disability allowance in 2018,
  • also increasing the minimum old-age pension in 2018,
  • streamlining procedures for social rights' holders,
  • stepping up action aimed at tackling poverty – with the focus on families with young children, 
  • finally, the Minister for Solidarity and Health and Minister of State for Gender Equality are due to present measures aimed at improving maternity leave and childcare solutions. 

Shoring up the link between the State and local territories


"We want to allow local freedoms to reach their full potential. (…) Let us give pilot schemes the benefit of the doubt!"
  
  • an initial meeting of the National Conference of Territories is scheduled for mid July. Territories will be encouraged to tailor their organisation to local contexts to strive wherever possible towards just two levels of local governance (below the regional level), 
  • talks will be initiated with the local authorities on the council tax reform. Dreaded though this may be by local officials, it must play a part in freeing up French citizens' spending power by the end of the five-year term,
  • high-speed broadband will be accessible across France by 2022 and a satisfactory level of mobile coverage will be guaranteed to all French people,
  • during the "Assises de l’Outre-mer" (Overseas Conference), the Government will be attentive to the expectations of each territory and lay the foundations of the convergence plans under the planning legislation for substantive equality in Overseas France,
  • a referendum on New Caledonia's independence, the conclusion of the Noumea Accord, will be held no later than November 2018.

Confidence that rallies together


"A Nation is an adherence to values, a history and a geography. It is a culture which is accepted for what it is and passed on. Being French means recognising values and sharing a culture."
  
  • Secularism is a requirement, that of absolute neutrality as regards religion. The Government vows to ensure it is upheld, reasonably, but firmly.
  • Creation of a Culture Pass for the benefit of all young people during their period of national service, to turn our culture into a factor of cohesion and freedom alike – not least by encouraging access to works of art and reading.

II/ Courage

Tackling the terror threat and insecurity


"I will not beat about the bush but wish to tell you plainly: there will be other attacks, other tragedies, other innocent lives lost. We will never get used to this. And we will not let our guard down. True to France’s roots, we will demonstrate level-headed, controlled determination in confronting this threat."

The Government fully intends to set up measures to counter terrorism and address insecurity:
  • military planning legislation is poised to be adopted in 2018. This will increase defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2025, enabling France to fight on all fronts.
  • plans to lift the state of emergency by 1 November 2017 at the latest, with a bill to strengthen the effectiveness of the legal counter-terrorism arsenal.
  • reduce insecurity on a day-to-day basis: in the spring of 2018, a draft reform grounded in simplified procedures will be put forward to free the security forces from the red tape that hampers their mission. 
>> Find out more about the policy to reinforce internal security and the fight against terrorism <<
 

Addressing the migration challenge head-on


"Welcome, yes of course. Assist, yes obviously. Endure, no, never."

The pressure on our borders is not going to ease anytime soon. We need to address the migration challenge head-on if we are to take action and:
  • honour the French tradition of welcoming refugees, 
  • cut the average times for processing asylum applications from 14 to 6 months,
  • obtain the definite deportation of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected,
  • bring the reform of the European asylum system to a successful conclusion,
  • take action as regards countries of origin and transit. 

Preparing for the future


"Let us talk about schooling. We train "the very bright very well", but inequality is only getting worse and our students' average level of attainment does not match up to what our great country is capable of achieving."
  
  • Measures have already been pledged by the Minister of National Education for primary and secondary schools, focusing on the acquisition of key skills, support for schoolchildren and the independence of schools; they are due to come into force at the start of the new school year.
  • Reform of the Baccalaureate (A levels/high school diploma): by reducing the number of subjects taken during the final exams and defining what will be included as part of coursework from September 2018, the aim being for this reform to be rolled out in full for the 2021 Baccalaureate.
  • Improvements in the vocational sector, particularly by forging closer ties between vocational lycées (sixth-form colleges) and business through work-linked training or apprenticeships.
  • Pressing on with the reform of our prestigious universities.
  • Launch of discussions on a new national service, by the end of 2017, "to prepare our children for this world that awaits, for this great and commendable, fair and strong France we aspire our country to be".

Renovating the French social model


The Government would like to renovate the social model "so that it creates protection that is genuinely effective in practice, instead of solely being guaranteed on paper. So that it supports those who want to take a risk instead of focusing solely on those who have already found their feet":
 
  • strengthening social dialogue at enterprise and sector level, 
  • taking measures to free up the labour force's spending power: scrapping employees' contributions to health insurance and unemployment insurance, financed through a transfer to the general social welfare contribution (CSG) in 2018. This represents €250 per year in terms of the minimum wage (SMIC),
  • increasing the "prime d’activité", an incentive by way of an allowance to continue working or return to work,
  • safeguarding career paths: strengthening vocational training, 
  • allowing employees who resign and the self-employed to benefit from unemployment insurance,
  • reforming apprenticeship,
  • reforming the pension system so as to make it fairer and easier to understand.

Facing up to the truth about the financial situation


"Taxpayers shall not be the adjustment variable in the budget."

The Government pledges to bring the public deficit to below 3% of GDP in 2017 and to roll out a three-pronged public finance strategy:
  • alleviating the tax burden: - 1 GDP point over the next five years.
  • cutting public spending: - 3 GDP points over the next five years.
  • taking action by raising the profile of stakeholders.
Other announcements include:
  • reducing compulsory withholdings by €20 billion between now and 2022, 
  • restoring balance to the social security system by 2020, by defining new rules enabling the prohibition of the deficit in the social accounts over the long term,
  • preserving the underlying stability of the pension system, whilst endeavouring to make it fairer and easier to understand.

III/ Conquering spirit

"Let us be winners! Amid the changes around us, France has every chance of success, because this new world needs science and reason, law and order, technology and culture, dialogue and solidarity."

The Prime Minister outlined the key areas in which action is necessary if France is to become a leading player on the international stage.
 

The economy


"With the reforms we are proposing we want to take the lead once again, in terms of work, growth and job creation."
 
The Prime Minister announced a reduction in the financial burden on labour, particularly for salaries close to the minimum wage:
  • converting the tax credit for companies (CICE) into a reduction in payroll charges: this reform will apply from 1 January 2019, 
  • gradually reducing the corporate tax rate: from the current 33.3%, down to 25% by 2022, 
  • scrapping the self-employed workers' health insurance scheme (RSI) to merge it with the general scheme and ease the burden on entrepreneurs – the self-employed and SMEs/micro-businesses in particular.
The Prime Minister also announced a series of tax reforms for shifting the focus of savings towards productive investment:
  • narrowing the scope of the solidarity tax on wealth (ISF) around a housing wealth limit. The reform will be voted on in the 2018 finance legislation, and come into force in 2019,
  • introduction of a single levy rate of around 30% on savings income, to round off the wealth tax reform. 
The Prime Minister has pledged to roll out a sweeping investment plan worth €50 billion in the areas of:
  • the energy transition, skills' development, health, transport, agriculture and modernising the State,
  • industry, the aim being to forge a powerful industrial network of SMEs and mid-caps, aligning them more with multinationals, to give them greater room for manoeuvre – especially in terms of export,
  • the digital revolution and artificial intelligence, which is going to impact all production sectors across the board. The Minister of State for the Digital Sector will come up with a proposal over the next three months for more effectively involving the very best specialists in the field in defining a national strategy for artificial intelligence.
 

Wholeheartedly embracing the key transitions


"Adopting a conquering spirit afresh also implies wholeheartedly taking up the tremendous challenge posed by the key transitions."

The energy transition

The Prime Minister has set the target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. He has vowed to:
  • discontinue granting new hydrocarbon exploration permits,
  • work towards "diesel petrol" convergence, which will be reached by the end of the term,
  • expedite carbon tax efforts,
  • halve the amount of landfilled waste and recycle all plastics nationwide by 2025,
  • develop new mobility means involving new technology. The "Assises de la mobilité" (Mobility Conference) are scheduled for the beginning of the autumn. Framework legislation on mobility will also pave the way for opening up to competition.

Housing 

  • simplifying planning permission procedures, from the autumn. In areas where demand outstrips supply, urban planning authorisations will be transferred, where necessary, from municipalities to public establishments for intermunicipal cooperation.
  • completing energy efficiency works on buildings within the next ten years. 

Agriculture

  • organisation of the "États généraux de l'alimentation" (Food Convention) to boost confidence in healthier eating. This Convention will also be an opportunity to review the way value is shared out in the agricultural model, so that farmers can earn a decent wage. It will also look at agriculture and the environment through the same lens, particularly by examining the question of pesticides or endocrine disruptors. 

Maritime sector

  • France needs to harness its maritime strengths to create new jobs, especially in the marine energy sectors, with a view to winning an ever greater share of freight thanks to its large ports. 

A France that commands more attention, respect and admiration


"We cannot envisage the recovery of our nation without an international policy that sees France once again wielding influence on the international stage."

In Europe

"The French people made two things very clear during the elections: they see merits in European integration and the Euro; and they would like to see a more tangible, less pernickety, more protective Europe."
 
There are three thrusts to the Government's European agenda:
  • do everything possible to renew French people's faith in the European Union (EU),
  • strive for a Europe that protects, which will be able to rely on a better governed eurozone and successfully advance its defence policy,
  • prepare for the three crucial negotiations for the EU's future: redefining the European project with 27 members, holding orderly negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the EU and the EU's financial outlook post-2020. 

Worldwide

"A conquering spirit is also about being able to attract the intelligence of tomorrow our way."
 
For the Prime Minister, this conquering spirit must be evident in:
  • the hosting of students from all over the world to enrich and disseminate our techniques, our language and our identity.
  • our wealth of tourism options: a major economic boon for attracting wealth to our country,
  • the organisation of such prestigious sporting events as Paris 2024.
 


What is a general policy statement?

On 4 July 2017, the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, will deliver his general policy statement before the National Assembly. Here... [Read more]
3 July 2017